Monthly Archives: August 2015

REVIEW: MAALA – MAALA.

A couple of months ago a friend went to a Brooke Fraser concert and was talking to me about the opening act for Brooke, someone called MAALA. They said I should give this guy a listen and honestly I don’t really remember if I did or not, but I regret not giving him more of a go if I did because MAALA’s music is fantastic.

If I had to try and sum up MAALA in as compact a way as possible I’d say – and I hate saying it because every up and coming New Zealand musician will probably be compared to her at some point from now on – that he’s like a male Lorde in many ways (the use of the phrase “thrill of it” in his song “In The Air” also present in Lorde’s “Tennis Court” doesn’t help). Both have moody, atmospheric music with voices that evoke the emotions of the song with seemingly subconscious ease. Continue reading

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REVIEW: What Do You Mean – Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber has released his brand new single “What Do You Mean” (WDYM), and it may be the most authentic advancement in his career yet. “One Time” and “Baby” pandered to his overwhelming teenage girl audience, “Boyfriend” did the same but with a dash of trying to break out of the mould his fans had created for him with an awfully transparent “look I’ve grown up” rap. WDYM is a logical move forward from the success of Skrillex and Diplo’s EDM song “Where Are Ü Now” which Justin sings on, especially when paired with the more relaxed look and vibe Justin has been creating for himself over the last year or so. Continue reading

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REVIEW: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Downtown

What do you do when you’re Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, you’ve taken a fairly lengthy break since making it big with “Thrift Shop” in 2012 and want to replicate that success? Well, apparently, first you take the main theme of thrift shop and chuck that in the beginning of your new song to make sure people remember who you are, you jump on the Uptown Funk bandwagon in hopes of riding that trend to number one (the irony of the song being called “Downtown” shouldn’t be lost here), you hide behind 80s hip-hop pioneers Grandmaster Caz, Kool Moe Dee and Melle Mel and throw in Foxy Shazam vocalist Eric Nally to take care of the chorus for you. “Downtown” is the epitome of an “everything but the kitchen sink” production, except maybe the kitchen sink is in there somewhere because the song and video have so much going on that it would be easy to miss it. Continue reading

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REVIEW: Carly Rae Jepsen – Emotion.

Carly Rae Jepsen has released her new album “Emotion” and it is essentially a new version of the underrated “Kiss”, but fine tuned to near 80s synth pop perfection. She delves into her love life with the intensity and naivety of a 15 year old experiencing love for the first time, but instead of coming off as childish it gives off a sense of nostalgia, making listeners wistful for a time when love was new and fresh, when the pain and joy of it eclipsed everything else.

Emotion is a whole lot of snapshots into various stages of falling in and out of love, like Carly is lost in thought and her love life is coming back to her in bits and pieces, some intense, some more mellow, but all important. Grab a handful of songs from “Emotion” and you’ll have a story of a relationship, trade some songs in for new ones and you’ll have a different kind of story. It’s almost like a choose your own adventure, all of the elements are there you just need to put them together.

Love seen through the eyes of someone experiencing it for the first time, with the overwhelming emotions that this entails, all put to the beats of 80s synth pop – this is “Emotion” in short. The producer list for the album is varied, each team of people putting together music and lyrics to fit a specific moment, memory or emotion, but all these things are brought together to create a cohesive album describing the many stages and experiences a person can have when dealing with love.

Read below to delve deeper into each song’s specific meaning: Continue reading

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REVIEW: Nick Jonas – Levels

It’s no surprise that Nick Jonas’ new song “Levels” is produced by Ian Kirkpatrick and The Monsters and the Strangerz, the people behind Jason Derulo’s two latest singles “Want to Want Me” and “Cheyenne”. Nick and Jason seem to be the two big rising stars in male pop music at the moment, each taking cues from the Michael Jackson/Justin Timberlake playbook. With Levels, Nick also looks to Bruno Mars’ latest escapades and infuses a throbbing funk baseline into the mix. Continue reading

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